The cot is the hero piece of the nursery and where your precious baby (hopefully) spend many, many hours snoozing peacefully. Setting it up as a safe sleep space is really simple, but super important. By sticking to a few golden rules bub’s cot will become a safe sleep haven from the day they come home.
From making sure you choose the right cot to decking it out in the essentials for restful sleep, it’s all about keeping baby free from danger as they nap. Selecting the right mattress plays a big part, as does the bedding and anything else you may have in or around the cot.
Here are the safe sleep tips you need to know for setting up a baby’s cot.
How to choose a safe cot
First thing’s first, pick a cot that meets Australian standards. The easy way to do this is to buy a brand new cot from a reputable retailer and check the label. It must say that it meets the current Australian and New Zealand Standard for Cots (AS/NZS 2172:2003). If you’re buying a second-hand cot, it should also meet these standards. Granny may want you to use the gorgeous heirloom cot that’s been handed down in the family, but chances are it doesn’t meet current standards and isn’t safe.
Take a tape measure with you when picking out your cot to make sure it complies with the standards.
- The distance from the top of the mattress to the top of the lowest side when the dropside is closed should be at least 50cm, with the base set to its lowest position.
- The depth should be 30cm when the mattress base is in the upper position.
- The depth should be at least 15cm when the dropside is down.
- There should be no footholds that your little one could use to climb out.
- Any large space or opening has to be between 5cm and 9.5cm to stop bub from getting caught.
- Any smaller opening needs to be between 5mm and 12mm so little fingers or limbs don’t get stuck.
How to choose a safe mattress
When choosing bub’s first mattress makes sure it fits snuggly into the cot you’ve chosen. The gap between the edge of the mattress and the cot side next to it shouldn’t be any more than 4cm when it’s pushed to the opposite side. If the mattress is in the middle of the cot, the gap around it shouldn’t be greater than 2cm.
The mattress should also be firm and not sag in the middle. If you’re buying a second-hand cot, always buy a new mattress.
How to spot cot hazards
Look for any sharp edges or parts that stick out or up. Run your hand over the interior of the cot and make sure there’s nothing baby’s clothing could get snagged. on.
Make sure the cot is placed away from any hanging blind or curtain cord or electrical appliances. And check how close lamps, oil diffusers and nights lights are.
Don’t put any heaters close to the cot and don’t put the cot over or under a heating vent so bub doesn’t overheat, and never use electric blankets, hot water bottles or wheat bags for babies.
Safe cot bedding
It’s recommended that babies sleep on their backs, with their faces and head uncovered. One of the best ways to make sure bub’s head stays free of any bedding is to use a safe infant sleeping bag.
If you’re using a blanket instead, pop bub with their feet at the end of the cot, and tuck the blanket in under the mattress. Make sure it can only ride up as far as bub’s chest. Don’t put any soft bedding into the cot: no pillows, doonas, loose bedding or fabric, lambswool, bumpers or soft toys.
Read next …
Choosing the right cot for you and your baby is a big decision to make. To help, here are a few articles that you might like to read next:
- The best 23 cots for every nursery budget
- Before You Buy Guide: Cots & Cribs
- Cot to tot: 10 clever cots that convert into toddler beds